28 days Darwin to Darwin via GRR

by Tom
(Darwin, NT)

Hi Birgit, having spent 2010 road testing your Top End guide as far as Katherine - I can't wait to test the Kimberley guide! I have really appreciated how you have managed to get me away from the coach trip infested parts of the Territory!

This is our plan for August (I know - busy!) 2011. It will be for 8 adults in 3 good 4x4s. Our interests at most stops will be hiking, swimming, photography (birds and wildlife as well as landscape).

Day 1 - Darwin to Ubirr, relaxed drive and sunset on the rock. Camp at Ubirr
Day 2 - More Ubirr if we want in the morning. Drive to Norlangie. Hike around until tired. Camp at bushcamp nearby.
Day 3 - Daytime at Maguk, evening camp at Yellow Water
Day 4 - Dawn cruise, drive to Coolpin
Day 5 - Koolpin
Day 6 - Leave Koolpin, Drive to Edith. Camp overnight
Day 7 - Restock in Katherine, drive to Gregory
Day 8 - Gregory NP
Day 9 - ditto
Day 10 - Keep River
Day 11 - El Questro
Day 12 - ditto
Day 13 - ditto
Day 14 - Drive to Mitchell Falls, or most of the way and bush camp.
Day 15 - Mitchell Falls
Day 16 - Mitchell Falls
Day 17 - Drive to Mt Elizabeth
Day 18 - Mt Elizabeth
Day 19 - Drive to Mornington
Day 20 - Mornington Wildlife Park
Day 21 - Morning in Mornington, drive to Tunnel Creek/Windjana
Day 22 - Morning in Tunnel Creek, then drive to Halls Creek
Day 23 - Drive to Bungles
Day 24 - Bungles
Day 25 - Leave Bungles, drive to Kununurra. Half our party leave us and head for the red center.
Day 26 - Drive back into the NT, keep going until tired (maybe Umbrawarra). Camp somewhere
Day 27 - Drive back to Darwin, whistle stop tour of Litchfield if time allows.

Day 28 - Spare day to allow for complications.

Day 29 - Hope to God I'm not on a morning shift!

Are we squeezing too much in? I've been to Kakadu a few times (being a Darwin resident) and am happy that part will be OK. I have no idea about anything past Katherine, and hope I have allocated appropriate time in each place. The last thing I want is to rush!

The worrying bit is that I may have to trim this to 21 days, if so - I'll cut out days 1,2,9,10,13,20 and spare day 28. Hopefully the rest of my party can get the required time off and this will not be a problem.

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28 Days Darwin To Darwin Via GRR
by: Birgit

Hi Tom,

Thanks for the kind words!

That's an unusual itinerary, bypassing some of the most popular attractions (e.g. Bell Gorge). Which is an excellent decision if we are talking about the first half of August!

I see only one problem, and that is with Mornington. Mornington does not take reservations for the campground, and they only allow a limited number of campers. You need to call them on the radio at the turn off to see if they have room. Unfortunately, during peak season, the answer is often, "Sorry, we are full".

From Mt. Elizabeth you are not exactly in the pole position in the morning. Both Charnley River and Silent Grove are much closer. Chances are many people will get there before you do.

But even if you camped close by, unless you book the luxury safari tents, there is no guarantee that you will be able to go.

Everything else looks fine to me.

If you need to cut it down to 21 days, there is again a problem with Mornington. Personally I don't think it makes sense to drive in there just for one night. Then you would have to rush around in the afternoon to see anything. And I understand rushing is what you are trying to avoid.

A possible alternative that I see would be to drop the very last day. You can drive back from Kununurra to Darwin in a day. Not a fun day, but certainly doable. Kununurra residents do it all the time.

I hope everyone will get time off so you don't have to drop any of it. And I sure wish you good luck with day 29 :-).

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